As far back as time goes, the changing of seasons and celestial orbits have been deeply engraved in the celebrations and rituals of cultures all over the globe. Over time, with the incorporation and blending of many cultures, beliefs, and rituals, Korea provides a truly diverse and rich holiday season experience!
Traveling During the Holidays
The holiday season is by far one of the most exciting times of year for any traveler visiting foreign lands. Keeping up with the festive atmosphere, Korea is one of the most diverse when it comes to holiday celebrations. Regardless of cultural or religious affiliations, Christmas decorations fill up the commercial districts as stores, restaurants, and other establishments’ elaborate decorations and festive lights lure tourists and consumers alike to stop by.
Unlike the massive amounts of traffic and closures that come with traveling during Chuseok, the late winter holiday season sees less traffic as many places stay open late for shoppers and tourists. With Korea being the global leader in technology, many people are attracted to technological advancements such as Korea’s Songdo International Business District—the world’s first Smart City currently leading the 4th industrial revolution. Others indulge in locking in deals on new appliances or the latest fashion by hitting up some of the biggest shopping centers such as Seoul’s Time Square mall, COEX mall, or Lotte Mall.
Get “Lit” at Various Festivals
Throughout Korea, many events and festivities occur throughout December. Whether walking through a park’s twinkling lights during an event such as at the Busan Christmas Tree Festival or enjoying the events and festivities at Anan’s romantic Animal & Heart Village Festival, there are plenty of activities that vary from crafts, food, museums, music, and street performances. The Garden of Morning Calm’s Lighting Festival boasts being the biggest festival of lights in Korea and spans from December to March for visitors to come and indulge in the sea of lights throughout the gardens. The nights come alive despite the cold with musicians busking at street corners and the smell of street foods filling the air with warmth and cheer. End 2017 off with a bang at any of the local fireworks displays, or start 2018 by getting hyped for the Winter Olympics being held in Korea in early February. If your travels have you in Korea through February, be sure to take part in the Seollal (Lunar New Year) festivities for an experience to remember. Whether traveling solo or with friends or family, there is plenty for all to experience.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Despite Korea’s cold winter temperatures, it would be an absolute shame if one did not adventure out to see Korea’s beauty that resides in its nature. Ranging from ski resorts to trail and mountain hiking, there is much to do outdoors. The breathtaking beauty of the snow-covered mountain caps of the national parks such as Hallasan National Park, which made it onto the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will leave anyone breathless.
Fun in the Sun
The icy roar of the waves along the seashore is truly something everyone must experience while indulging in the Jeju Island’s local dishes. Many places also offer ice fishing for the family where everyone young and old can enjoy the thrill of catching their own prize. Some may also choose to relive their favorite scenes from romantic winter dramas. Filming sites, such as that of Winter Sonata, show the natural beauty of Nami Island where one can enjoy building snowmen or taking ferry rides.